What is HSCT?


Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an intense chemotherapy treatment for MS. It aims to stop the damage MS causes by wiping out and then regrowing your immune system, using your stem cells.

Who’s it for?

Results have shown that HSCT is most effective for people:

  • with signs of active inflammation in their central nervous system, as seen on an MRI scan.
  • who have recently experienced their first symptoms.
  • without significant disability.

This will mainly include people with highly active relapsing MS who are having relapses despite taking disease modifying therapies (DMTs). If someone has progressive MS and still has active inflammation, it may be able to stop or slow this. But it can’t reverse damage that’s already been done.

Unfortunately, HSCT has been shown to be less effective for people with progressive MS who are not experiencing inflammation.

Researchers are working hard to find effective treatments for people with progressive MS.

How does HSCT work?

HSCT aims to ‘reset’ the immune system to stop it attacking the central nervous system. It uses chemotherapy to remove the harmful immune cells and then rebuild the immune system using a type of stem cell found in your bone marrow.

The haematopoietic stem cells used in the treatment can produce all the different cells in your blood, including immune cells. However, they can’t regenerate permanently damaged nerves or other parts of the brain and spinal cord.

Source: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/about-ms/treatments-and-therapies/disease-modifying-therapies/hsct#